Damn! It's the summer and I don't have a single interior design client to work with.
Sonia clicks refresh.
There must be a mistake.
She looks in her email inbox again and sees it.
0 Unread Messages.
Now what? Oh, wait! Let me email that lady last month. Errr... what was her name? Sonia sifts through the 1,081 emails in her inbox. "Was her name 'Gemma'?" Sonia mutters to herself.
Thirty minutes later, and the Facebook tab opened up to her "News Feed" she is not any closer to finding that elusive email from that gal who might be interested in her services. Sonia slouches in her chair feeling defeated. Again.
She tells herself as she exhales, "It's so much easier when clients find me. They see what I have to offer, they like it and we start work. I wish Beverly would have finished through on that referral to her friend last month. Dammit! Here I am again with nothing in the pipeline. It's not like I can just go Google me up an "interior design client" to get me through the month. If I was thinking ahead maybe I wouldn't have waited to respond to that "Gemma" gal. At least that's what I think her name was."
And so Sonia goes back to surfing Facebook, posting a random picture of one of her projects to her Facebook Business Page hoping some random soul will be inspired to throw wads of money at her.
Trying to get interior design clients is a bitch.
We all know it is wonderful to have clients just land on our proverbial business door step. They find us, love our work and just can't wait to get started. And when I mean can't wait, I mean can't wait! You know why they can't wait? Because you just found one of your dream clients. They are a special treasure that happen to find you. But you and I both know that these special dream clients don't just show up on your doorstep every time you need a job.
Dream clients are like buried treasure.
Waiting for a client to just show up either by calling you or popping an email in your inbox is like waiting taking a stroll on the beach and finding the Hope Diamond. You can wait for them to pop up on the beach, but that is rare. Very rare. So while you wait, for the elusive Hope Diamond of a dream interior design client to show, what do you do?
The Hope Diamond is rare, interior design clients aren't.
There are a few things you need to do before you get interior design clients knocking on your door.
First Task: Dream Them Up.
You need to define who you actually want to work with it first so you aren't a desperate designer. You don’t need to have people taking advantage of you and believe me, they will. People will want you to reduce your fees. People will want you to give them a room design for the price of a one hour consult. Or even worse. For free. Don’t do it. Figure out now who you want to work with and stick to it.
Let's start dreaming about our ideal client. Who they are, what they like, what they do? The best way to get into their head is for you to write a diary entry pretending to be your ideal client.
So here's what Sonia comes up with:
Dear Diary, We’ve been in this house for a few years now. We moved all our ugly shit into this brand new house. It just doesn’t make sense to buy new stuff, yet. I don’t know what to buy.And the hubby … well, he will be Pissed Pistofferson if I go off and buy another sofa that doesn’t fit like this dumb one we have now. And I can’t forget when I bought that armoire. Oh boy. He was so mad to have to move that thing around. And when it didn’t fit where I wanted it to go. Yikes. Talk about someone being mad! Then he wanted me to get our money back, but it was on sale. I know I should hire a designer, but I’m just so unsure about hiring an online designer. How can they possibly know how my home is? They aren’t here. And how do I know they are some fraud? I wish I could figure out how to decorate on my own. Like, I know what I want our home to look like; I just don’t know how to get it there. Signed, Penny, Sonia's Dream Client
Most likely when you conjure up who they are it might resemble a past client and that is good. It allows you to really figure out what they would LOVE and what they would HATE. They are your case study of figuring out anything you should do in your business.
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.